Denver Art Museum Receives $25 Million to Form Textile Art and Fashion Department
September 2nd, 2021
An anonymous donor has gifted the Denver Art Museum (DAM) $25 million in support of its Textile Art and Fashion Department, the museum announced today. The money will allow DAM to establish a new Institute of Textile Art and Fashion, which will be led by Florence Müller, who since 2015 has served as the museum’s Avenir Curator of Textile Art and Fashion. Fifteen million dollars of the transformational gift will provide an endowment underpinning scholarship and programming, including restoration and maintenance of the collection, while the remaining $10 million will go into an endowment fund supporting new acquisitions for the department.
“Fashion and textiles are exciting to me and our audiences because they are so accessible – everyone has fashion and textiles in their home and everyday lives,” said Müller in a statement. “This gift will enable us to build upon the museum’s great collections and tell more stories with them.”
DAM’s Textile Art and Fashion Department was seeded in 1927 with the gift of a Saltillo serape and a Kashmir shawl, and was officially established in 1955. In 2016, the department was endowed by the Avenir Foundation and the following year the gallery housing its collection, on DAM’s sixth floor was renovated. The collection, which has grown significantly under Müller’s leadership, comprises some five thousand objects from Asia, Europe, and the Americas, with textiles ranging from archaeological fabrics to contemporary fiber works, and garments spanning those of the eighteenth century to those of the present day.
“The museum is deeply grateful for this significant and powerful endowment gift,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM in a statement. “The goals of the new institute are to support the development and sharing of the museum’s Textile Art and Fashion collection and create a basis for scholarly research and exchange in ways that are engaging and valuable for our community. Textiles have been wonderful ambassadors and connectors between diverse cultures for thousands of years. They were used to communicate ideas and stories, share religious beliefs as well as notions of style and taste. Then, as now, they are among the most beautiful documents of human creativity.”